A staff member at Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley assists during a recent vaccination clinic held at the hospital, 1100 Magellan Drive.

Now that health care workers and seniors over the age of 65 are eligible to receive coronavirus vaccinations, many Americans are left scratching their heads as to how to go about getting the vaccine, who should receive one and who should take a pass.

In addition to vaccination clinics offered by Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley, vaccinations can be obtained at OMNI Family Health in Tehachapi by calling 1 (800) 300-6664 and Sav-On Pharmacy #1347 located at 775 S. Tucker Road.

All three locations offer the Moderna vaccination.

Online reservations are advised by Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley and required by Sav-On Pharmacy by visiting the Kern County Public Health Services website and following the vaccination link. 

Adventist Health will also accept signup requests by calling 661-771-8440.

Due to the high demand and a limited number of allocated vaccinations, waiting lists can be long, and patience is required.

Overseeing the vaccination clinic for Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley is Joshua Pierce, manager of training and development.

Tehachapi News spoke with Pierce, who provided answers to many frequently asked questions.

TN: Is it safe to get the vaccination if you had a reaction to other vaccinations such as the shingles shot?

Pierce: If you have had a reaction to another vaccine, such as the shingles shot, we will observe you for 30 minutes, and not for 15, which is the normal observation time. 

TN: Who should not get the shot?

Pierce: People who had a reaction to propylene glycol or who have ever had Guillain Barre Syndrome, a neurological disorder, or disqualified.

TN: If you have had the virus, can you still get the vaccination?

Pierce: You can, but you have to be at least 14 days from recovery. That's the minimum. CDC says you should have enough antibodies to last about 90 days.

TN: If you just had the flu shot, is it safe to get the vaccination?

Pierce: It is.

TN: What are typical side effects?

Pierce: CDC has reported that the most typical side effects, which about 90 percent of people experience, is soreness to the arm. Some other side effects include fatigue, headache, body aches, possibly a slight fever or slight chills. Most people usually report soreness or tenderness to the arm. Side effects usually last between 24 to 48 hours.

TN: Does the current vaccinations protect against the variant strains that have been reported recently?

Pierce: There is not a massive amount of research out there. They are doing studies right now that shows that it is effective against the new strains, but there is not enough research for the hospital to stand behind it.

TN: What is the percentage rate of effectiveness for the Moderna vaccine?

Pierce: For your first vaccination, you are somewhere is the ballpark between 60 percent to 80 percent, 14 days after your first shot. Then, after your second shot, you reach a point from anywhere between 92 percent to 98 percent, again 14 days after your second shot.

For those who schedule their vaccination at Adventist Health, Pierce said the hospital provides a concierge service.

"You pull up in your car, you stay in your car, we serve you at your car and we observe you in your car. You get to do all the paperwork in your car, and then you drive out after the completion time. That way, we promote social distancing. We do ask that you wear a mask to protect our staff," Pierce said.